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Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 2014 Feb 1;306(3):R190-200. doi: 10.1152/ajpregu.00333.2013. Epub 2013 Nov 20.

Parabrachial-hypothalamic interactions are required for normal conditioned taste aversions.

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Department of Neural and Behavioral Sciences, College of Medicine, The Pennsylvania State University, Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, Hershey, Pennsylvania.


Rats with bilateral excitotoxic lesions of the parabrachial nuclei (PBN) fail to acquire a conditioned taste aversion (CTA), yet they retain the ability to express a CTA learned prior to incurring the damage. Rats with bilateral electrolytic lesions of the lateral hypothalamus (LH) also have CTA learning deficits. The PBN have reciprocal neural connections with the LH. This suggests that these CTA deficits may be functionally related. Electrolytic lesions damage fibers of passage, as well as intrinsic neurons. Thus, these LH lesions might also interrupt reciprocal connections between the PBN and other ventral forebrain areas, such as the amygdala and bed nucleus of the stria terminalis. To distinguish the source of the LH-lesion deficit, we tested for CTA first after bilateral excitotoxic lesions of LH and subsequently with a second set of animals that had asymmetric excitotoxic PBN and LH lesions. The rats with bilateral excitotoxic LH lesions showed deficits when acquiring a postlesion CTA. The asymmetrical PBN-LH lesions not only slowed acquisition of a CTA but also sped up extinction. This implies that interaction between the two structures, at minimum, facilitates CTA learning and may have a role in its consolidation.


conditioned taste aversion; lateral hypothalamus; learning; neural connections; parabrachial nuclei

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